1st Place: Sonos BU250 Wireless Digital Music System
Sonos has impressed us with its media streaming systems for a while now, and the latest iteration is no exception. The BU250 bundle finally brought the weakest area of the previous Sonos system, its remote, up to date. A brilliant capacitive screen gives access to a similar interface as the Sonos iPhone application, but without the drawbacks. There are other benefits too, such as dedicated volume controls and a docking station.
The rest of the system may not have changed but it didn't need to; digital outputs mean your music will sound as good as the audio equipment you invest in so there's no need to upgrade your streaming set-up; other than to add more zones. Even custom installations, costing upwards of thousands of pounds, are hard pressed to compete - Sonos is just that good.
2nd Place: Monitor Audio Airstream10
As you shouldn't be surprised to learn, we see a lot of DAB radios and media streaming players passing through our office, so it takes something special to stand out and stand out the Monitor Audio AirStream10 did. Its combination of a comprehensive feature set and stylish, slightly quirky design won us over immediately.
The AirStream10 offers DAB, FM or Internet radio, will streaming media from a NAS device or PC on your home wireless network and even play back podcast from the 'net. Plus, the audio quality is better then you'd expect from a single speaker. If you don't baulk at the £225 price, it's a perfect fit for a bedroom or kitchen.
3rd Place: Philips Streamium NP2900
Great though a Sonos set-up is, there are those who just want out media streamed to a single room. Philips' Streamium NP2900 caters to that audience well, eschewing such fanciness as Napster and Last.fm connectivity in favour of packing in a set of decent sounding speakers and the ability to stream media from a device on a local network, or from the Internet as simply as you could hope.
There's no DAB or FM receiver built it, but with all the world's Internet radio stations at your disposal, you'll never notice. Plus, the colour screen will display album art or pictures which looks rather nifty. £250 isn't cheap, but as lovers of cliché will point out, you get what you pay for.